Well, I'm violating a few of my own rules here. One, I'll be talking about sports. Two, it'll be controversial. And, three, I will probably lose readers and offend friends.
But I hope you'll stick around for what I believe will be a transcendent piece about love, hope, and forgiveness, one which will not divide, but rather bring us all together, Democrat and Republican, the beautiful and the homely, the Yankee fan and the Sox fan.
Let me tell you a story about a little boy in 2004. Now this young scrap (fresh out of a long-term residential treatment facility) had been a Yankee fan his whole life. Born in 1970, he had vague recollections of Bucky (Fucking) Dent, the Yankee victory and the 1978 World Series. The stronger memory, however, was of the 1980s, a decade devoid of not only a Yankee World Championship, but damn near everything else worthwhile, too. The '80s, for those who didn't come of age then, can be a fun, kitschy thing. Now. Shoulder pads. Neon. White sports' coats and shoes without socks. The shitty synthesizers and overly reverbed drums. But growing up in the '80s wasn't as much fun as they make it sound on TV, I promise you.
There wasn't much for a string-bean-thin-weirdo farmboy to do to pass his dark days on the farm. There was always cow-tipping, which I heard of often, though never would think to participate in. There were sports. At which I sucked. I loved all the girls (TracyAllisonAnneMelissa), but nobody wanted to date a dweebo like me, who spent most of his schooldays hanging with the ugly people in the art room or running around the farm (san shirt) stabbing a pitchfork into the ground trying to snag a gopher.
I had baseball. Couldn't play it. But fucking loved it. The Yankees, in particular. Die hard, bled pinstripes and all that. Used to dress up every year in my full Yankee uniform for my birthday party every year. The other kids who came just wore jeans and stuff. I wore full-on pinstripes, head to toe. I did this until I was 14, I believe.
Now if you are even a casual fan, you know that the New York Yankees have 27 World Championships, significantly more than any other team. You might also know that the Red Sox are our biggest rival, sworn enemy and all that. If you are a Yankee fan, you are raised to hate the Red Sox.
During the 1980s, the Yankees never won a World Title. Come the '90s, they sucked something fierce, barely watchable by the time I packed my bags and headed out west to San Francisco. Now, in the mid-'90s, the Yankees were a force again, winning four in five years. But I didn't see any of them. I was a junkie living in shooting galleries and skid row hotels. Any TV I got my hands on I hocked for drugs. When I sobered up, it was just in time to catch the Yanks' 2001 Season, which ended with heartbreaking defeat against the Diamondbacks.
So despite being a fan of the most successful sporting franchise going, I never saw them win it all. Not once. In 2003, they were back in the Series against the Marlins, after an exhausting 7-game affair with the dreaded Sox, but they lost. Then came 2004.
Up until last night, 2004 was the biggest choke in the rivalry, in the entire history, between the two teams. It was the only time in baseball history that a team was up 3-0, and lost the Series. The Yankees were the ones that had been up 3-0; the Red Sox were the ones who came back. I lived in New England at the time, in a heavily pro-Sox region. It was rough. I essentially shut myself off from all media--no Internet, no TV, no radio, for fear someone might even causally reference the Yankee's historic collapse. So successful was my plugging out, that when I finally emerged from the cave in early 2005 for lunch with a friend and he said something about the tsunami that obliterated Thailand, I stared back, blankly.
"What tsunami," I asked.
I've had to hear about 2004 for the last 8 years, how the Yankees' were the biggest chokers ever. Personally, I didn't think the Yanks had any business being up 3-0 in the first place; the Sox that year were a better team. Still, when it comes to sports, bragging rights are everything. The Sox won it all in 2004. And again in 2007. 2 Championships before I ever saw my boys win one. (The Yankees did win it in 2009, and I finally was able to celebrate.)
All of which brings us to this. First, allow me to repost an article from NESN. (NESN is the Red Sox sports' channel.) This article appeared before the start of the 2011 Baseball Season, essentially anointing Boston as the greatest team ever, one that would exceed 100 wins and very likely go down in the lore and the stat books as The. Greatest. Team. Ever. Probably be the first team to win two Championships in a single season, they were going to be that good.
2011 Red Sox Will Challenge 1927 Yankees for
Title of Greatest Team in Major League History
by Eric Ortiz on Sun, Jan 2, 2011 at 7:41AM